[Taxacom] unrecognizable species, what to do...
pleuronaia at gmail.com
Wed Sep 25 16:47:19 CDT 2013
A further difficulty with nomen dubium is that it is possible for someone
else to come along and claim that the original name was, in fact,
recognizable, thus restoring its use. Designating a neotype would provide
a much more stable situation. For example, conceivably future technology
might enable DNA sampling from an old, morphologically uninformative
specimen, making it identifiable (though still making one wonder why anyone
used it as a type). Or new morphological features might be discovered.
For example, currently there's a lot of confusion about names of Cretaceous
sauropod dinosaurs from the eastern to central U.S. The oldest name, the
genus Astrodon was based on some teeth, not currently thought to be
diagnostic. Other names have been based on material with various degrees
of incompleteness. Which name(s) is/are valid?
On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 5:24 PM, Francisco Welter-Schultes
<fwelter at gwdg.de>wrote:
> I agree with Doug and others: the appropriate form to solve this problem
> is to ask the Commission to set aside the existing types and to fix a
> The other option which was proposed, would not work.
> Declaration of a name as a nomen dubium is not a nomenclatural act. "Nomen
> dubium" is only an informal term. Its meaning is "a name of unknown or
> doubtful application".
> It describes circumstances concerning the taxonomic identity of a name. It
> is not possible to "declare" something as doubtful. Either something is
> doubtful or not, this is inherent and only needs to be discovered.
> > Doug and others have responded to this stating that an application can be
> > made to the ICZN to designate a neotype, with which I wholly agree, and
> > Doug has further recommended pinning the type locality as close as
> > possible to the original type (type series).
> > I would further strongly "recommend" -- as it is not discussed in the
> > Code
> > -- to place that neotype in the same museum as the original type series.
> > This would be a good idea for most neotypes, but especially in the case
> > of
> > older (i.e, 18th, 19th century) well-known zoologists. In the case of
> > Westwood types, Oxford is the most logical place one would look for a
> > Westwood type and future workers on this beetle may not know to look in
> > two places for the old and 'new' type material.
> > I'm cross-posting this to the ICZN list for the following reason:
> > In addition, the way Article 75.5 is written: without specification that
> > neotype be deposited in the same institution as the original type series
> > that is alleged to be poorly preserved, it opens up the potential for
> > abuse where a taxonomist could add more types to his or her collection by
> > declaring the need for neotypes because of poorly preserved collections,
> > while depleting types from other collections or causing confusion when a
> > neotype is located in another collection from where all the other types
> > of
> > an author may reside (what is this was done to, say, Linnaeus types?).
> > Probably will never happen much but it has happened, but when you write
> > laws, you need to be as forward thinking as possible to all possibilities
> > and minimize the potential for abuse of that law. I would thuds recommend
> > that Article 75.5 be reworded or at least (although unfortunately
> > unenforceable) a Recommendation be added to it to state the best way to
> > preserve such neotypes would be to place them in the same depository as
> > the original "alleged poorly" preserved type seres.
> > Just a thought.
> > -Neal
> > On Stardate 9/25/13 2:34 AM, "Lawrence Kirkendall"
> > <lawrence.kirkendall at bio.uib.no> wrote:
> >>I am a new member of Taxacom, so I don't know if this has been discussed
> >>As I understand it, one cannot normally designate a neotype when types
> >>can be found. But what do you do when your species, described in the
> >> 19th
> >>century, turns out to be a species complex, and because of the poor
> >>condition of the syntypes one cannot safely attribute any particular
> >>individual to any of the clades you can now recognize as separate
> >>species? The example my colleagues and I are struggling with is
> >>Hypothenemus eruditus Westwood (1836), a 1 mm - long species which may
> >>well be the most abundant and widespread bark beetle on the planet. We
> >>can separate a number of clades out, using a combination of molecular
> >> and
> >>morphological characters. Especially for such old mounted specimens,
> >>important diagnostic morphological characters for species in this genus
> >>(such the frons, or elytral puntures & setae) are frequently either
> >>hidden, worn, or at least partially covered with glue; in addition, old
> >>specimens are usually card-mounted, making even a visible frons almost
> >>impossile to view sufficiently well. The problem is not just with the
> >>syntype series for eruditus Westwood; the current catalog lists 75
> >>synonyms, and my suspicion is that it is going to be hopeless, trying to
> >>associate the clades we can (finally) now recognize with older,
> >>synonymized names--especially bearing in mind that the species is
> >>globally distributed!
> >>What do aphidologists or acarologists do, in a species complex, if slide
> >>mounts have darkened to the point where critical characters can no
> >> longer
> >>be discerned, assuming that sufficiently detailed drawings do not exist?
> >>Thanks for any advice,
> >>Lawrence Kirkendall
> >>Prof. Lawrence Kirkendall
> >>Department of Biology
> >>Univ. Bergen
> >>ThormÃ¸hlensgt 53a
> >>N-5006 Bergen, Norway
> >>MAILING ADDRESS:
> >>Department of Biology
> >>Postboks 7803
> >>5020 BERGEN
> >>Taxacom Mailing List
> >>Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> >>The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched with either of these
> >>(1) by visiting http://taxacom.markmail.org
> >>(2) a Google search specified as:
> >>site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom your search terms here
> >>Celebrating 26 years of Taxacom in 2013.
> > This message is only intended for the addressee named above. Its
> > may be privileged or otherwise protected. Any unauthorized use,
> > disclosure or copying of this message or its contents is prohibited. If
> > you have received this message by mistake, please notify us immediately
> > reply mail or by collect telephone call. Any personal opinions expressed
> > in this message do not necessarily represent the views of the Bishop
> > Museum.
> > _______________________________________________
> > Taxacom Mailing List
> > Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> > http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> > The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched with either of these
> > methods:
> > (1) by visiting http://taxacom.markmail.org
> > (2) a Google search specified as:
> > site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom your search terms here
> > Celebrating 26 years of Taxacom in 2013.
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched with either of these
> (1) by visiting http://taxacom.markmail.org
> (2) a Google search specified as: site:
> mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom your search terms here
> Celebrating 26 years of Taxacom in 2013.
Dr. David Campbell
Assistant Professor, Geology
Department of Natural Sciences
Boiling Springs NC 28017
More information about the Taxacom